One of the major critical concerns in the health care reform focus is safety. Any health care reform process needs to ensure that safety of both the patients and the health care practitioners is assured. The reform program should also indicate clearly the parties that are responsible for the production of evidence, as well as the guidelines that would prevent conflict of interests in the research and production of the necessary evidence. The role of the Affordable Care Act also comes to the fore when safety matters are under consideration.
First, a medical product or procedure needs to satisfy the highest level of safety for it to be used in routine clinical practice. Routine clinical practice involves a large number of people because it takes place daily.Should safety standards fall, then many people’s lives would be at risk.This was the case for Vioxx, a medical product from Merckthat more than 25 million American had used before the red flag on its safety went up (Berenson, 2005). Looking at the extent of the risk, it is important that medical products or procedures meet the highest possible safety standards before being used in routine clinical operations.
Secondly, the evidence on safety should not be a prerogative of the companies manufacturing products or setting the procedures for clinical practice.An independent body of researchers, possibly government institutions, should have the responsibility of investigating the safety concerns of a given product. This is to prevent a possible conflict of interests for the manufacturing companies. Manufacturing companies may deliberately interfere with evidence that may jeopardize the profitability and reputation of their companies.
There are several guidelines that would help present conflict of interests. Whenever researching for evidence concerning a product or a procedure for clinical practice, it is important to ensure that the research institution has no connections whatsoever with the manufacturing company. Concerning the institutional conflict of interests, it is important for organizations to prudently manage their relationships with industries to avoid dragging researchers, educators and clinicians associated with the institution into disrepute even when they are party to the misconduct (Lo & Field, 2009).
The role of the Affordable Care Act also comes to bear when discussing the issue of safety in health care product and processes. The Act seeks to provide cheaper health care for Americans, but without compromising on the safety of the Americans. This piece of legislation maintains that medical products, as well as processes, must be safe for use by citizens. The law, therefore, criminalizes the manufacture, distribution and use of unsafe health care products in America. Those found culpable of the offence risk prosecution. Manufacturing companies, consequently, try to avoid legal proceedings against them by trying to compromise the integrity of the evidence concerning the safety of their products.
In conclusion, healthcare reform focus has to ensure that safety standards for health care products and procedures remain as high as possible. This implies that products and services have to cause very minimal or no harm or side effects to the patients. One way of maintaining high standards of safety is by ensuring that only independent bodies handle evidence concerning the safety of products and procedures. This is mainly to present institutional conflict of interests, or conflict of interests among the parties involved.It is also important to stress the role of the Affordable Care Act, which states that Americans require health care products and services that meet the highest possible standards of safety.